At this moment, all that exists in my sights are the darkness of the night sky through the window, the golden light of a candle glimmering in my periphery and the glow of this computer screen. Of late, I have read many stories by writers about their influences and writers whom they adore. The most compelling stories depict how the main inspiration was the author’s own life, their own experiences and hardships were their teachers and the stories told themselves, their fingers were merely a medium.
Songs seem to come to me this way. Ideas for paintings, projects, special studies… they all jump into my mind and slam the “Go” button, yet, it wasn’t my choice to press it. Once, I was asked to write my autobiography on one page. That was horribly prohibitive. It takes a half-hour just to get started when telling about my life. Perhaps I am simply detail-oriented or lack conciseness. I see everything as bleeding into everything else, just like a watercolor painting which starts with too much water. Except, in life, those bleeding tales need no judgment, at this point, of too much or too little liquid. Those tales exist only in the memories of my body and when I think back to them or something reminds me of them; I can only experience them in the moment or in a dream. At times, I become overwhelmed with the sound of my heart beating and shortness of breath. Other times, the need to sleep or eat suddenly tips me over and makes me weak in the knees. In more extreme cases, fear fills every pore, unexplainable in the present moment as to why and I find myself floating above, as an outsider looking in, disassociating. Somehow, I can become a shadow when the worst moments resurface. I get lost in the replay and the mountainous weight of knowing there is nothing I can do to change the stories. In those dark and tremendous moments, there are veins reaching into the future, into the people I love, into the choices I make, into the way I look in the mirror, into the way strangers look at me… All this is happening under the guise of a smiling, confident, albeit sometimes distracted, woman.
Imagine what it would be like if those moments disappeared. What would happen if those shocking and depressing moments no longer plagued those of us who share them? There could be a light, a blinding light, swirling out of my forehead. I see light emanating from my fingertips and from each strand of hair. There is no memory in my body, from the earliest of early storage drawers of visions, that does not have a tinge of sadness. I cannot remember ever feeling completely light, free, and without judgment. Fear permeates every facet of life. I could be beaten for not finishing my dinner or having an accident potty training. I could be abused or taunted by any man who walked by. I could be ridiculed for being imperfect by any movement, decision, performance or by simply existing. Simultaneously, I was treasured and praised when I was approvable. In public, I was the gem of the show. I was “the rock”. The undeterminable atmosphere of our home, the lack of comfort, the affectation of normalcy, the quid-pro-quo nurturing, the unending sarcasm, perversion, and the predatorial context into which my sister and I were forced to exist has created, in me, a person who needs to come to terms with the impact such a life has had on my body. The lives and bodies of millions of people in this world are all carrying scars on their beating hearts from childhood. They learned about their lack of importance, their prescribed stupidity and their lack of control so early, the notion that such things don’t HAVE to hold them down may never be realized in their lives. They may never individuate.
I have the privilege of a new awareness of how my body, heart, and mind are all interconnected and I proclaim that the marks carved into my being are going to be brought to light. Immunity to sickness and dedication to health are the core of my focus now. The amount of time it will take to begin to feel whole and happy again may be lengthy. Yet, I am here. I am learning. My body is going to heal. I have magnets in my heart and the celestial bodies and our beautiful, magical planet are connected by those same forces.
I am filled with grit. I am the softest green moss of the forest floor.
In some corner of my mind, I have yet to unearth, there is the North star of hope.
I am seeking Spirit by this river’s shore and in my inner flame’s ashes and smoke.
Dedication: The Preacher Keith who surprised me with a musical instrument today at the coffee shop. Tears were brought to my eyes when he brought it out. He said to me, “You will do with this guitar what I cannot and will not. I want you to have it. I love your music, it is music ministry.” What a sweet man. Thanks dude. You rocked my day. Here’s a description of the new little baby, I named her “Preach” – “‘Cordoba Mini R’ features a solid spruce top paired with rosewood back and sides for a deep, full tone.” It sure sounds lovely. I played a few tunes with it today and learned the Gm chord almost immediately. I find that all my instruments have a chord they came with. My Mexican guitar came with A#m7 as her chord. The Ibanez was E. Straight up E.
Song: Precious Memories as sung by the infamous Jim Reeves. In his memory, this was written, “If I, a lowly singer, dry one tear, or soothe one humble human heart in pain, then my homely verse to God is dear, and not one stanza has been sung in vain.” Written by Linnea Crowther – I sang this song tonight on Facebook if’n ya wanna hear it. My Aunt Helen requested that this song be sung at her funeral. I sang it with tears in my eyes. She was 96 when she passed last year. Hard to believe.
Dear Humans, Autumn is sharing her bounty with us in color and for me in creativity! The album is coming along nicely. Some of the songs sound so beautiful, way more beautiful than I could have imagined. There is only one more left for me to record and we’ll be heading into a stairwell for that recording. Lo-fi effects in the house! I’m scheduling and rehearsing with the accompanying musicians who will soon be making the magic up in the studio. Drums, bass, mandolin, piano, guitar and maybe a few more surprises. Those souls who are helping me are doing sacred work for this project. I can’t wait to share our magic with you! If you’d like to donate to the studio costs, you may do so here for the album fundraiser! Thank you! Every bit counts! (You can also read about how I got here if you’re interested on the GoFundMe page as well.) We have almost reached our goal! Together you’ve helped to raise $4170 out of $5200! #SurrenderingToTheSacred
Tuesdays have been fun each week sharing songs with you all. I had no idea it would continue after the initial songs on the album were played, but it felt right to continue!
Last week, Crystal Bright and I played at a restaurant in Greensboro called “Lucky 32”. The crowd was lovely. Thank you to our dear Family who came in support of our music. Here is the link to our duo portion of the show (forgive the poor camera skills *shrugs shoulders* What can I say, I do my best…)
Love to everyone, bundle up and don’t just tell your people you love them, SHOW them!
This week in pictures:
Heart Rock found at school in the parking lot
My as a tiny one, learning to invest in me!
The Moon was lovely last week!
Started a new watercolor this week.
Celebrating my first nametag with my new name! Anita Moore in the house!
TuesDayNewsDay Vol.2 Issue 17, October 30th – CAUTION: Trigger Warning – this newsletter contains triggering sexual violence references. Please take care.
Dedication: Today’s issue is dedicated to my therapist Karen. Today, while going through what came up in therapy, I realized I would drive to the place, where in October of 1990, I was first molested. I was seven years old. I decided I would drive there, sit on the ground and take a photo. I would also take something of the earth to work with this healing. As the idea came to me, a light bulb exploded in my head. Karen said, “Anita, don’t take your wounded little girl there without your whole adult self holding her, seeing her, and telling her that you are there for her no matter what. You are her nurturing parent now, hold her in your arms.”
I pulled my car into the driveway for the first time ever on my way home from therapy, realizing I have never driven into that driveway before in my life.
This spot, which I have to drive by every time I go to my grandparents’ house, is also a block from where my mother still lives with the pedophile step-father just across the railroad tracks. When I say this healing is a daily, a moment to moment process, I mean it. Literally facing those places every day has wrecked havoc on my insides – but I am resilient and strong, vulnerable and honest with myself. The place is a vacant lot in a trailer park on Pomeroy Street in Graham, where my home used to sit. Now it’s an empty, dirty space with an overgrown concrete platform over which there was a carport. Under that porch, I remember having to take all of our stuffed animals outside to be thrown away because there was such a terrible flea infestation. I remember sneaking up late at night after everyone was asleep, turning on the television to watch Alfred Hitchcock and the Twilight Zone, my face about an inch from the screen, ever wary of any sounds coming from my mother’s end of the trailer lest I get caught.
Vividly, I remember the game we were playing that night in October. My baby sister, a developmentally disabled boy named Jason, and his sister Tasha and I were playing charades. Jason and Tasha were the teenage children of my mother’s red-headed boyfriend. We played in teams and it was decided we would go into the closet to decide what animal or character we would pretend to be. I was seven years old, my sister was 2. I was on Jason’s team. Jason was sixteen. (Typing this I can feel my heart racing and the old familiar anxiety aching in my chest and shoulders, my left eye and cheek twitching.). When we went into that closet and Jason molested me, I was too afraid to move, too afraid to scream, too afraid to fight, too afraid to do anything at all except to freeze. So, I froze. I could feel his icy cold, trembling hands on me. To this day I can still feel the darkness of that closet, the walls closing in around me. When we came out of that closet, I was sick. I don’t remember anything else. I don’t remember the game, nothing. I remember after they left that night, I told my mother what happened. She said to me, “Honey, if it happens again, let me know.”
Those words etched endless caves into the crevices of my heart. Those words are the haunting. Those words represent the moment I knew I was on my own. With no one else to turn to, my grandparents were gone to Disneyland at the time, I was completely alone. I prayed and prayed and heard nothing. Those words mark the day when I, as a seven year old, realized that god didn’t exist and that I wasn’t worth saving. Those words created children’s tears. They cannot be undone, and of course, it happened again.
Despite those memories buried deep in endless caves and my mother within shouting distance, I went. It was my nurturing, accepting, loving, and whole adult self who sat on that ground. I felt the cold, wet grass and soil underneath me. I looked at the trailers to the right and left of me. My phone was propped on the very metal bracket that once held that trailer to the ground. I snapped a shot of me sitting on that sacred ground. It took less than a minute. Leaving, I searched for a four-leaf clover in the tiny patch of yard, but found none. Instead, now a big green black walnut from that place is with me. I plan to do some ritual with that walnut. It tried to escape twice from me before walking up my back-porch steps in Saxapahaw. Something inside told me not to bring it inside my house, so I left it on the back patio table. It is not clear what kind of ritual will come about, but it is sure to be a powerful one of releasing the physical ghosts of that moment. It will be one of forgiving my mother for not knowing or realizing what she was doing. It will be a process of exorcising the grief and trauma which has been sitting in my bones and blood, blooming into the person you see today. Today is all I have.
Quote: Choice is all we get, change is all that’s real.
Today’s post wasn’t meant to be this way. The events of today were not planned, but have made a mark. The words of my song, Darlene, record this event in a lyrical, symbolic sort of way. Being an artist is a privilege because it lets us put words and visions to feelings and thoughts. We are able to somehow transform our feelings into a universal language others can share. Today with Karen, I admitted to trying to let go of my fears: people won’t like my arts and I’m not good enough to walk in the footsteps of my idols. Slowly and purposefully, she said, “Let’s transform that. You are working on your language, so let’s start here.” So after thinking, my mouth said, “I am letting go of my concern for people not liking my art or me as a person.” I do not need validation of others to justify my existence. This self-work is Sacred. I feed on it; it makes me feel more and more alive and free every day to uncover and unleash the demons. Turns out, they aren’t demons at all. They are one scared, frozen little girl, stepping into who she is destined to be, not solely a victim of her circumstance. I looked Karen in the eyes today and spoke my gratitude for her being here with me this last year and a half of journeying, visioning and healing. It was the first time I’d ever asked to hold hands with anyone. With our feet on the floor, we grounded, I closed my eyes and saw little Anita sitting on my right knee. There Karen prepared me to go sit on that patch of grass, which someday, I will drive by without flinching. I will drive by proud to have been seated there.
Today’s issue is dedicated to Ruth Gordon! What a firecracker! Tonight I decided to do the Cat Stevens song, “If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out.” The character, “Maude” from the movie, “Harold and Maude” made such an enormous impression on me, this whole day should be dedicated to her glorious soul.
Dear Humans! There is so much news. There have been some ups and downs over the last week – but today, I’m high on life! The last few days, I have been compiling and digitizing old poetry I wrote back in the day! Some of it absolutely sucks! (That’s my judge-y adult being unfairly mean to my little teenage self who was just hurting a lot and didn’t know what to do with herself.) Nevertheless, there’s a TON of material. I found songs I’d not finished, my eccentric, fairy-tale prose… love letters to my old boyfriends, dreamy poems about my girlfriends and their amazing selves, there’s even a poem about a fuzzy little spider. Here’s that one:
Little jumpin’ spider
i saw you by the window
oh little jumpin’ spider,
biggest I ever saw
hairy little arms, squinty little eyes,
fuzzy and twitchy, black as night time sighs
fangs I couldn’t see
oh but I know
they were waiting just for me
oh little jumping spider
I’m gonna take you out
cause you know I can’t have you
here inside my house ~ July 9 2014
Another poem I found was one I wrote while falling in love, it’s precious to me:
Oh. Dear Honey.
You know just how to say
The words that make my insides play
The truest forms of pristine feelings
They escape me through my Smile
They exit through my Exhale
They permeate me in the side of this Time
You’ve awakened a thousand sleeping Fairies
A million bells of stillness are now ringing
An eternity of rustling leaves and moonbeams
A rousing on deep waves of blue and green
I fear not, my eyes are open.
Silent, like the wings of a night bird
Calm, yet floating on the clouds of sunset
Giving in to the excitement of the tide
Pushing and pulling and swirling and mingling
Miners, sailors, and gems of old
sing their songs to Us, stories untold
Phantasms in the dark, wrapped inside ourselves
Safe and tender perceptions
Your voice in my soul
I needn’t search for your smile Shadow
Its imprint has been signed onto the whole side of my spirit
I hear you.
You don’t have to speak
I would not be afraid to open my eyes
in your downhill stream
Let us fly
Fly away far into the day
Explore each cave
Sing new songs
Make new Love
~ August, 2010
Amazing… I love poetry and painting. Right now, I am in the midst of a new watercolor/ink painting right now. There was an old wooden calligraphy boxed set at the Goodwill the other day, it’s now in my home. So much sharing to do, so much more to transcribe into digital format. Once everything is entered, then begins the editing and placement of letters in exactly the right place. Truly, I want to create a poetry book and for it to be an adult pop-up book. Many of my friends and also my sister have done self-publishing; I may go that route, though it is expensive. I will also pitch the idea to some publishers and see what happens! Last week, a fellow professor at Alamance Community College suggested that I submit some of my poetry into the faculty writing contest. The prospect was exciting so I obliged. Maybe they’ll like them! I’m going to paste the ones I entered here – so you can read all 4 of them as well. 🙂
1. Status Update:
‘s turning a corner ~ a path to health and clarity
A non-doldrum roar of cleaning it all the fuck out ~
body and spirit ~ love and truth.
I have strands of positivity reaching into the future
I am envisioning that enlivened journey of my Self.
The yellow-brick road leads to Anita’ville,
the badass grateful go-getter,
with a no-stop’em medidationary attitude of the Now-Tao.
There are lilies on my tongue and roses in my nose, golden light shining right out of my ass.
Purging and seeing what’s real and what’s not.
Keeping in the checkmark those stories I tell myself and refuse to listen to the ones that aren’t true.
No assumptions. No generalizations. Be specific. Be on point.
Be loving and trusting and open and true.
Be the brave believer and the courageous vulnerable one.
Be clear and focused and heart-of-gold style out there ~ and right here.
Breathing and walking and singing and plotting my own enigmatic Now.
This world needs more love and active voices of the light,
in the streets, in the claiming of what we deserve ~ clean water and fresh air to breathe,
true voices and something we can believe in: system-change, not puppet change.
Seething with light-force, I know I am in the heart of God.
I am in the heart of God. I am in the heart of God.
2. Decisions and Serendipity
feel the breeze on my skin
coughing and chatter
cars rolling by
birds hopping, pursuing scraps
the baby talks, indistinguishable from the noise, yet distinctly knowable
sure of where I’m from
choosing to go forward into the
only my own encouraging word
co-mingling with my discouraging chorus
a tip of the hat to the Builder
the Architect of this vessel
I see that entity as me
yet more vast than I can possibly imagine
Others see her
historically I have not
Such privilege to get to sit down in an empty room
choose to listen
rather than speak
I can taste my dreams
I can hear the music
It’s not above my head, heaven IS.
it is within
3. Little Girls
We are born fearless, named after our grandmothers
Then we are hushed, beaten and ashamed
We then built walls, taller than we’ll ever be
Beyond the clouds, those walls protect you and me
Then we grow up and learn to see
those walls which fortified us, kept us from being free
They’ve become a cage, we must find a way to escape
To get to the light Beyond our enclosed landscape
We inherit the strength and strife of our ancestors
generations of oppressed children in cages
Self-built and outsourced
yet, we blame ourselves for so much more
What if I told you it’s all okay?
What is you had permission to thrive?
What if in an instant, you tore down your walls?
What if you believe you can fly?
I’ve been beaten, assaulted, invaded, invalidated and thrown
Boundaries a foreign concept, and now I’ve learned
That I have a right to one or two of my own
It is my time and time for you
This ripeness of this moment will free you
Like it has freed me, all you have to do is surrender
to the sacred survivor inside you
That little girl who saved you
who gave you the tools to save yourself
She is your higher power
She is your salvation
Treat her with respect and compassion
Cradle her when things become tough
She carried you, now you must carry her
She didn’t deserve her oppression
She didn’t ask for a beating
She called out for help and her mother never answered
She has you now, her protector
I knew a dual world
Two extremes in life
A cradling and an abandonment
A vision of everlasting love and a nightmare of neglect
A plethora of mentors and guides, a whole population of me-shaped limitations
A society meant to hold me down and also the privilege and the choice to rise above
I am finding my way back to the Looking Glass
A child of Neptune sternly placed among the ills of Life
Too forcefully unsupported and left with your homemade guilt
There is true wisdom in these fantasies
Yet they were too early extinguished, I am finding my way back now
You can also find yours
The path to the box of liquid filled rainbows
The visions lie beyond what we can see
The inspiration my little girl has left for me
She still has her key, it was hidden and now is bright
Shining by the light through the keyhole of the drawer where she buried it out of sight
4. The Muses Groove
This rhythm is rolling, rolling around inside
my undulating chest and heart
Sitting at this wooden table
contemplating it not being real and part of me…
and part of you… .
and I’m not really touching it…
it’s touching me.
The music changes
I dream of being a poet
I dream of being who I am
I dream of making music
grateful to share this gift with the Greats
To only for a moment think of all those who laid the path before me
those brave and enduring souls who
pebble by pebble, note by note
stroke by stroke, experience by heartbreakingly joyful, or painful, experience, tapped in
They tapped in, not out
Some through Divine Spirit intervention,
some through straight-up booze.
Whatever the avenue, whatever the teacher,
it brought about my ancestors of music and word.
They walked that road.
Creative muse lingers just outside our reach
we must take heed
We must cook up that stew
be ready when the salt falls from the shelf
to delightfully enrich our slippery, sensuous, slimy, salubrious, sacred soup
So thank you.
Thank you Greats.
Thank you oldies, thank you newbies
thank you to those who have yet to be born.
Thank you for learnin’ me to open up
stand up straight
be connected to the ground
lift my head and sing – those notes are not mine, they are Ours.
If you’ve made it this far, I hope you enjoyed it! Adieu for now! Crystal Bright and I will be doing a show together in Greensboro on November 12th. Other than that show, I’ll be recording in the studio, painting, and compiling/editing poetry! Y’all have a beautiful week.
My Baritone Uke from Phil Cheney, painted by Robert Frito Seven